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Telling a parent, guardian, grandparent or other ‘grown-up’ that you’re pregnant (or that you got someone pregnant) can be daunting if it wasn’t something you planned on. There are some simple things you can do to help the conversation go smoothly. There are also services available to help you if you don’t feel supported by your family.

This can help if:

  • you’re pregnant and are worried about telling your parents (or parental figures)
  • a sexual partner is pregnant and you need to tell your parents (or parental figures)
  • you want to support a friend who is pregnant.
Aerial view of father and daughter seated at dining table

Steps to follow

1. Prepare yourself

If you’re feeling anxious about breaking this news, it will help to think through the conversation before it happens.

  • Plan what you want to say. Jot down the main points you want to cover, and what you want from the person you’re telling, before you start the conversation.
  • Think about the different ways they might react. Try to imagine what they might say, and practise some possible ways of responding.
  • Talk to someone else first. A doctor, counsellor or trusted friend will be able to help you talk through your worries and concerns in a safe way.

2. Find the right time and place

  • Think about how you want to approach telling them. You could do it in a letter, face-to-face or over the phone. It all depends on how you’re feeling, and on what will make you feel safe and comfortable.
  • If you want to do it face-to-face, pick an appropriate time and location. Make sure it’s private, and that everyone has enough time for the conversation to take place. (In other words, don’t drop the bombshell when your parents are about to have the whole family around for Christmas lunch.)
  • Ask a friend, partner or family member to be there with you so that you don’t feel alone.

3. Give it time

  • If anyone becomes angry, ask them to try and calm down before you continue with the conversation.
  • Remember that this could be difficult news for them to process, and they might need a bit of time to themselves before they feel able to continue the conversation.
  • If you’re concerned that they’ll react badly, make sure you’ve identified a safe place to go afterwards while they take in the news and calm down.

Getting extra help

If things don’t go as well as you’d like, or you just want to talk to someone, there are organisations that can support you.

  • Family Planning Alliance Australia operates across Australia, and they can help you look at all your options in confidence.
  • Relationships Australia offers family counselling and mediation.
  • If you aren’t sure what you need, you can start by speaking with your GP, a youth worker, counsellor or mental health worker.

What can I do now?